Progress And Innovation Cannot Be Stopped -- Merely Hindered

from the frustration-and-optimism dept

A few years ago, after receiving an email from someone who was "upset" by all the "bad news" on Techdirt, I wrote up a post for New Year's on reasons to stay happy, pointing out that while we highlight all sorts of annoying stuff going on in the world, we shouldn't lose sight of the larger view: of all the wonderful, amazing and innovative stuff that is happening despite ridiculous efforts to protect old business models and hinder innovation. It really is amazing when you look back at how much the world has changed in just such a short time, and it's to be celebrated. Yes, there are lots of posts on Techdirt about ridiculous efforts to hold back innovation, and we discuss them and complain about them, because in true Louis CK fashion, we always want things to be even better. It's that drive -- that compulsion to improve things that propels the world forward.

Just recently, I received a similar email to the one that led me to writing that post, from a reader named Craig. I wrote back and pointed him to that original post on staying happy, but have been thinking about the issue a bit more, after another reader, Mark B alerted us to a book review in the NY Times about the new book by Matt Ridley called The Rational Optimist. I haven't read it yet, but from the NY Times' review, it sounds like it fits nicely into the world view that we take around here, and should mix nicely with some of my favorite books.

One of my favorite books on economics, which I've recommended in the past, is David Warsh's absolutely fantastic book, Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations, which among other things, gives you a highly readable and entertaining history of economic thought from Adam Smith up to just about a decade ago, with a key focus on the economics of information. There are some points in the book where I think Warsh defers to Paul Romer's vision too much (and misses a key mistake in Romer's work...), but overall it's an absolutely fantastic work.

One of the key points it makes, in a rather humorous fashion, is how incredibly wrong the doomsayers of economic history always seem to be -- mainly because they were confused about the economics of information, and how that plays into economic growth. While most people know the hilariously wrong predictions of Malthus, Warsh's book also covers the lovely story of William Stanley Jevons, the 19th century economist:
More than ever, it seemed apparent that scarcity sooner or later was going to bring all economic growth to a halt. Jevons gained fame in England in the 1860s by explaining how the looming exhaustion of British coal mines would probably mean the end of improvements in wealth and power. (Oil was discovered in Pennsylvania four years later.) And after Jevons died, in 1882, his study was discovered to be filled from top to bottom with stacks of scrap paper. Soon enough England would be running out of paper too. He didn't want to be caught without.
One of the great parts of the book is its discussion of William Nordhaus' wonderful research into the history of lighting and productivity, which is pretty interesting if you geek out on economics stuff.

Anyway, I'm reminded of all this because it looks like Ridley's book also keys in on Nordhaus' work, and makes similar points about economic growth and progress. Ridley, rather ambitiously, appears to try to look back at the history of innovation, and finds that governments tend to get in the way more than anything. Innovation tends to come from more open markets and more ability to engage in free trade, without restrictions and protectionism:
Rulers like to take credit for the advances during their reigns, and scientists like to see their theories as the source of technological progress. But Dr. Ridley argues that they've both got it backward: traders' wealth builds empires, and entrepreneurial tinkerers are more likely to inspire scientists than vice versa. From Stone Age seashells to the steam engine to the personal computer, innovation has mostly been a bottom-up process.
And the key to all of this? As we've been discussing for years, Ridley claims it's the rapid combination and sharing of ideas:
"The modern world is a history of ideas meeting, mixing, mating and mutating," Dr. Ridley writes. "And the reason that economic growth has accelerated so in the past two centuries is down to the fact that ideas have been mixing more than ever before."
And the only thing that gets in the way of that? Bad gov't policy designed to "protect" where it is not needed:
Our progress is unsustainable, he argues, only if we stifle innovation and trade, the way China and other empires did in the past. Is that possible? Well, European countries are already banning technologies based on the precautionary principle requiring advance proof that they're risk-free. Americans are turning more protectionist and advocating byzantine restrictions like carbon tariffs. Globalization is denounced by affluent Westerners preaching a return to self-sufficiency.
But, he finds that innovation is likely to route around these kinds of restrictions in the long run, because the process of innovation cannot be stopped in the long run, merely slowed down:
But with new hubs of innovation emerging elsewhere, and with ideas spreading faster than ever on the Internet, Dr. Ridley expects bottom-up innovators to prevail. His prediction for the rest of the century: "Prosperity spreads, technology progresses, poverty declines, disease retreats, fecundity falls, happiness increases, violence atrophies, freedom grows, knowledge flourishes, the environment improves and wilderness expands."
Seem crazily optimistic? Perhaps, but I probably fall into that same camp as well. I agree that, in the long run, innovation does prevail, and it's worth being happy and optimistic. If so many of the stories on Techdirt often feel negative or frustrated over the actions of certain industries or politicians, it's mainly because their actions and the (un?)intended consequences of those actions only serve to get in the way -- temporarily, but sometimes significantly -- of that innovation, progress and prosperity from happening. So be frustrated and annoyed at what's happening, but recognize that overall progress is not stopped, it's just slower than it could be.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Doug, May 21st, 2010 @ 9:04pm

    And maybe that's a good thing

    I like progress as much (or more) than the next guy, but I wonder if hindering progress might sometimes be a good thing.

    I don't know whether this is actually the case, but I suspect that humankind needs a bit of time to digest some of the existing technologies before being introduced to new ones. You can have too much of a good thing. Perhaps the increase in government red tape is a "natural" feedback mechanism to prevent us from growing too powerful before we grow wise enough to make good use of that power.

    Society should become familiar with the long-term consequences of existing technologies before moving on to new ones. Get used to walking before you try to run.

    Earth first. We'll screw up the other planets later. :P

     

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    Kirk (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 9:21pm

    Just what the doctor ordered!

    Despite being an optimistic futurist who believes we are living in times of "accelerating change," some times I can't help but get frustrated, discouraged and even down right negative when it comes to decisions made by various politicians, industries, etc.

    So I am pleased to see you stepping back and reminding all of us to take a step back and recognize that many of these battles we fight, though important, are ultimately only road-bumps along an evolutionary path that seems to be all but inevitable.

    I certainly identify with the "rational optimist" label and can confidently say I am one. With that said, I do believe that could be making our lives a lot harder than they need to be. Although I don't doubt that many doom-and-gloom economists will be proven wrong, I do think the U.S., among others, is in real danger in the short to mid-term.

    The laws of economics are being re-written and EVERYTHING will change more quickly than most think, making many predictions based on outdated economics irrelevant. Ultimately, the importance of nation-states based on geographic boundaries may fade, but until then, the fact that we are not only spending our way into oblivion, but doubling down on the folly by undermining many of the key tenets that drive innovation, is disconcerting.

    I believe in free will, and if it were not for those of us pushing back against the neo-luddites (often disguised as pro-science and/or pro-innovation), who is to say that we may not (temporarily, at least) jeopardize a brighter future for man kind. After all, while progress and innovation cannot be stopped, but only delayed, we could miss the boat, and that would be a shame!

     

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  3.  
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    FreemonSandlewould, May 21st, 2010 @ 9:22pm

    If we can manage to survive Dear Leader Obama

    Hinder as in Obama?

    egad. If you have an IQ vote libertarian!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 9:27pm

    sort of typical techdirt friday dreck. effectively, you want to ignore any good that has been created by any other system than absolute information anarchy, without any consideration for the positives of various devices, including copyright and patents. one of the reasons we advance is because we can afford to have the best people in research, development, and designing the products of the future. the easiest way to see the difference is to look where communistic or socialist states have landed on the ladder of progress. they may get there someday, but they are not getting there quickly. they dont progress as the open commercial societies have done in the last couple of hundred years, and our progress is faster now than ever. too bad that you cant see past your own notions to see what is really going on.

     

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  5.  
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    FreemonSandlewould (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 9:32pm

    Re:

    Poor Anonymous Coward :

    ....do you have a small shrine to Dear Leader Obama on your mantle?

    You use the word anarchy as if it is a pejorative. It is just a way of saying without hierarchy. The best minds recognize that is what best represents the world of ideas.

    Your problem with it is you are not confident enough to accept it. You need your pacifier to feel comfortable!

    baby want his binky????

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Re:

    what the heck are you talking about?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    Not only is technological progress inevitable, social progress is inevitable. Heck, look how far we've gone worldwide, in terms of civil rights, just in the last 200 years or so. We still have a long ways to go, and social progress is a slow and excruciating process, but it's inevitable.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    Re:

    In terms of civil liberties/civil rights *

     

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  9.  
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    Chargone (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 10:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    ...
    if you can't understand that, i think you have a problem...

    he remarks on your dubious use of the word 'anarchy' and otherwise insults you.

    assuming AC 1 and AC 2 in this little sequence of posts are the same person.

    there's quite a bit else wrong with the post he is commenting on too, by the by, though i'm having trouble disentangling it enough to figure out exactly what well enough to explain it. (it's been a long day :-S )

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    there is a difference between anarchy and 'information anarchy'. one is political, and one is describing a state of information without structure or goal. "FreemonSandlewould" say the word anarchy, took the wrong meaning, and went off like a good republican would. absolutely meaningless dribble.

     

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  11.  
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    Chargone (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    personal observation of Americans in the wild (ie, on the Internet) would tend to indicate that you mean 'good mindless party following sheep', republican or democrat, the only sane choice when it comes to American political parties is moving to a different country.

    (among other things to note: the republicans and democrats have, in the course of their history, actually swapped ideologies, or parts there of, more than once :P )

     

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  12.  
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    Richard (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 1:48am

    Re:

    without any consideration for the positives of various devices, including copyright and patents. one of the reasons we advance is because we can afford to have the best people in research, development, and designing the products of the future. the easiest way to see the difference is to look where communistic or socialist states have landed on the ladder of progress.

    Oh dear - where to start on this...

    1 I've never seen any actual evidence for benefits of patents and copyrights.

    2 Socialism (in the sense of abandoning private monopolies) has on several occasions resulted in enormous and rapid progress. In fact most of our modern technology is directly rooted in a period of socialism that existed in the UK and to some extent in the US during WW2. Sometimes the government has to act to bang together the heads of would be private monopolists. In case you are not old enough to remember there have been occasions in the past when a socialist state has won a technological battle. Sputnik?

    3 A truly open commercial society doesn't have monopolies - public or private.

    too bad that you cant see past your own notions to see what is really going on.

    Exactly!

     

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  13.  
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    European anonymous coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 1:53am

    Although I fear this is a waste of time, I would like to propose that some hindrances to innovation is beneficial both to the regulated and to the overall society in general.

    Given problematic substances like DDT and Phthalates, which only after widespread use were proven to be dangerous, I have a difficult time seeing why we shouldn't learn from past mistakes and require proof that something is safe, prior to allowing widespread use. Cynics might argue that without DDT much knowledge about the role of the arctic in the ecological niches would not have been gained and that without phthalates, much research into in vitro fertilization would not have happened. I would like to submit that the overall costs of mistakes like that should have been paid by the same people who introduced such chemicals rather than the consumer in general. On the premise "that an ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure", it would seem that a more cost efficient approach is to require proof of safety prior to use, rather than discovering after the fact, that a certain product or chemical is dangerous.

    Based on the premise of "that which does not kill me makes me stronger", it would seem to me that requiring a product to be safe, opens up one more avenue for competition in the marketplace: "cost-efficient demonstration of product safety".

    The darwinian priciple is just as valid when examining competing products and companies as it is when examining biological phenomena. Putting stiff restrictions and regulations on private industry helps weed out the companies which cannot adapt. The ultimate winner of such restrictions are both the individual consumer and the individual companies.

     

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  14.  
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    Mike, May 22nd, 2010 @ 2:18am

    Thinking positive like this just means you're a humanist doesn't it? I think any good humanist will, like the Beatles, see that "we can work it out".

     

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  15.  
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    cc (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think you mean "chaos" as in chaos theory, not anarchy.

    Anarchy is a political term.

     

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  16.  
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    senshikaze (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 6:01am

    Re: And maybe that's a good thing

    an interesting take. It is possible, makes you kinda wish they would have thrown more red tape around the nuke, huh? I think we may have gotten a little too happy with that one. Thankfully, most people realized quite quickly that nukes aren't to be used (at all if possible).
    But red tape can also just be Gov't trying to cut themselves in so they can tax innovations more.

    I thank you for taking an opposite view as the article and not exploding into "this proves everything you have ever said is false!" like some other commenters on this site...

     

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  17.  
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    senshikaze (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 6:02am

    Re: If we can manage to survive Dear Leader Obama

    bah, what would that help? the problem isn't the ideology, it is the corruption. and I promise you, every candidate is corrupt to some extent.

     

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  18.  
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    Unamerican, May 22nd, 2010 @ 7:04am

    Re: If we can manage to survive Dear Leader Obama

    "If you have an IQ vote libertarian!"

    You mean like Rand AccidentsHappen Paul ?

     

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  19.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 7:09am

    Re: If we can manage to survive Dear Leader Obama

    instead of that, how bout if you have an IQ, run for office and do a better job representing your fellow man than the slags we have in there now.

     

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  20.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 7:25am

    Re:

    one could just as easily take your tripe filled statement and say you want to ignore all the negatives that are created by an over letigeous society where its lawmakers are corrupt and severely undereducated in very dangerous areas and that you believe that the power of the state and the corporation trump and personal freedoms that the constitution would garuntee (which by the way is called fascism as far as political ideology goes).

    the reason we advance is NOT because we have the best minds in research. in fact some of the biggest idiots in the world are the ones doing research. we advance because those idiots are not forced to work in a vacuume singlehandedly researching thing independantly from eachother. we advance because researchers have always shared ideas and information. we advance because people put money behind the research with the main focus on breakthrough and innovation first, profit last. this has been corrupted so that the money holders are worried more about profit than anything else... not that you would be botherd by that, most fascists find nothing wrong with that at all.

    and speaking of money, we finally come to the idea of tossing around what happens in socialist and communist countries and why they dont progress as fast as places that have a capitalist economy. the money doesnt fund the research. read the previous paragrah again as it applies to lack of funding not just the research itself but the means of giving researchers the ability to communicate with eachother.

    by the way, on a personal note:
    stop being such a tool.

     

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  21.  
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    abc gum, May 22nd, 2010 @ 7:26am

    Re:

    Sort of typical Shillonomous reply dreck. Rather than discuss the topic, attack the presenter.

    Shillonomous -> "one of the reasons we advance is because we can afford to have the best people in research, development, and designing the products of the future"

    Who is this "we" you speak of? Would that be in reference to the entirety of the human race ?

    Shillonomous -> "look where communistic or socialist states have landed on the ladder of progress."

    Apparently "we" does not refer to all humanity ... oh well. Your smug and arrogant attitude does you and your fellow citizens a disservice.

    Shillonomous -> "they dont progress as the open commercial societies have done"

    Not sure what you mean by "open". Much of "our" society is closed, or maybe you haven't been paying attention.

    Shillonomous -> "our progress is faster now than ever. too bad that you cant see past your own notions to see what is really going on."

    Do you have any evidence to support your assertion that "progress is faster now than ever" ? Possibly there is data from a reliable study which developed a reasonable means to measure this ellusive "progess" and then normalize the past and present for an accurate comaprison.
    No ? - Didn't think you had that.
    Too bad you don't take a good look around and realize you could be wrong.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re:

    "Do you have any evidence to support your assertion that "progress is faster now than ever" ? Possibly there is data from a reliable study which developed a reasonable means to measure this ellusive "progess" and then normalize the past and present for an accurate comaprison." - i will let the nobel people speak.

    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/articles/rotblat/index.html

    get along little doggy. the only shillonomous action here is the speed at which you try to pee all over my posts without considering the content. you and mike both do the same thing, and you both fair.

    if you are bored you can also search the internet for things like 20th century progress, and such. mankind made more progress in that 100 years than maybe the 1000 before it. we went from no indoor plumbing to a space station, from people dying of ignorance to hi tech medical and a long life span, and so on. progress. have a nice weekend.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes. All thanks to the sharing of human knowledge. Sharing. It's in our DNA.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    non-answer. nice try mike.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    hi mike.

     

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  26.  
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    Ross Nicholson, May 22nd, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Ideas are bulletproof

    Just the process of hearing new ideas needs attention. Innovators in bureaucracies devote time to listening, but incur uncompensated costs. Winnowing out the cretans and impostors takes time and effort in a speculative game. That being said, my own experience is illustrative.

    I've written a book to demonstrate the healing power of human pheromones, primarily the one on readers' noses. It is literally on the end of the human male nose, the greasy stuff without color, smell, taste or recognition. It is a pheromone that is passed in kissing. Simple enough?

    Physicians can simply wipe it off their silly noses and use it to fight diseases: crime, drug addiction, perversion, Alzheimer's Disease, autoimmune disease. Will they? No, probably not. Why? Most people in medicine are sheep, chosen for their brown-nosing ability and conformity. The bias against entertaining innovation is so strong that the messengers are all shot on sight at extreme range. What is to be done?

    Read and study my book. http://tinyurl.com/y8vxlxp

    Careful study is required, not the skimming of innovative bureaucrats hunting profits. So study it. It comes well recommended, I have 1000X's your I.Q.

     

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  27.  
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    Darryl, May 22nd, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Progress and patents

    Ofcourse we have progress a huge amount in the recent years, look at the technology of 50 years ago, and today!

    70 years ago, the Zuse Z3 was developed in Germany, it was a mechanical relay switched system, 2000 relays, CPU clock speed was 5 to 10 HERTZ. Today we have 4GigaHerts, multiple million transistor CPU's and gig's of memory, what about medicine in the past 70 years, space exploration, aviation, electronics, telescopes, GPS, radar, sonal, UMV's, nuclear power, solar cells the list is endless.

    Sure there is a great deal of potential for the small group of individual to invent and innovate, it happens all the time, small groups have done many great things but generally those inventions quickly move beyond the ability of a small group to manage or progress.

    Linus Torvalds did start Linux, and even though it's based on the framework of Unix, it was very soon after his announcement that he needed and still needs considerable help in it's advancement.

    Microsoft is the same, and Apple, all started by a small group, and like google have turned it into something huge, and well beyond the small group to manage.

    Sure, the Watt steam engine was a small group of individual (James Watt) but you then mention computers, that is Government and Military.

    Starting with the Zuse Z3 used by Natzi Germany to model air flow on fighter plains, then the UK's "Bombe" series, again for military decryption, and the 10 Colossus computers again used by Government and Military.

    Most if not all of these inventive people, the people who start the Googles, Linux's and Microsofts are trained and educated in Government funded universities.

    Bell labs invented the transistor, and the laser, optic fibre (I think), it was a huge R&D centre employing over 6000 researchers.
    Sure there were only 3 people in the lab when they invented the transistor, but with the support of Government paid for education, and 6000 staff doing similar research.

    Internet, DARPA, military
    Computers, WW2, Military decryption
    Modern Aircraft (jets and such) Military development
    Super accurate timing systems, (manhattan project)

    Space travel - Rockets from the V2 in Germany, and Von Bruaghn defected
    GPS - Invented for military
    CCD's for military spy satellites, and refined by big industry (Sony, Kodak...)

    So although it's quite possible for the small group or individual to invent and innovate, it's getting to the stage where a lot of innovations and inventions are too complex or costly to be carried through by the small group or individual.. But yes, still very possible.

    But to claim, most invention/innovation comes from some grass roots movement is IMO, a generally wrong assumption, most innovation/invention comes from War, military, and ultimately the Government.

    And most of the individuals who do this invention / innovation are the product of Government sponsored education systems.

    But, most if not all innovations and inventions are derived by an individual, and the original thought of "may by it would be better if we did THIS!", "if we had something that could do X for us, our lives would be easier".
    This applies to everything, the wheel, governments, taxes, law and order, social security, education, and science and technology advancements.

    Many of these idea's although thought up by a flash of inspiration, are beyond the small group or individual to fully realise.
    That is why we have patents and copyright, if you have that good idea, and it is too big for you to take it beyond just an idea, you get it patented or copyrighted, and that gives you the protection to seek the necessary backing to develop you're idea.

    That is how the system works for everything, innovations, inventions and social systems.

    But I would say the biggest boost to the progress of man (apart from all the military advancements) is due to governments, democracies and social law and order and laws protecting the rights of the creator of the idea.

    But all the really good stuff we have in this day and age, generally cost A LOT of money to develop and put the market, individuals can and do still significantly contribute, if you develop an algorithm that would make you're computer work 50% faster, it would be very difficult to fully develop and market that product, especially as most home computers use MS Windows, therefore if I wanted to cash out, I would patent my algorithm/method and I would speak to the big software players and see if I could sell my patent.

    As I have a patent I can disclose it to my potential customers, and if I see them using that algorithm without my permission I can of course, seek relief through the Court.
    The system does work, and MS and many other companies have been found to do that, and have had to pay for it.
    And that is how the system is supposed to work, there are set rules that you play by, and if you break those rules (laws) and get caught you get in trouble. (and for a business that means lose money).

    But it is true that so far most things have not been invented, there is always the next "killer App" or "NBT" (next best thing), and there is no reason why you cannot utilise you're Government and social order societies education, and social stability to give you all the tools you need to create the next best thing, or be the next Google.

    But don't think for a second that you can do this with immunity, it will not be long before the big players in the industry try to cut you're grass, that is what human progress and business is.
    It's more about coming up with something good and new, and not just seeking the rights to use someone else's idea's for you're own gains.

    Because if you seek to loosen the rule regarding protections afforded by copyright and patent rules, you must expect the big players to play by the same rules, it cannot be an asymmetrical law. Therefore if you expect to be able to use great idea's that Microsoft, or apple have employed, then fully expect them to do the same right back at you. And I know who would win. MS.

    So I have to consider why you would want to have more relaxed patent and copyright laws, laws that are in place to protect the little guy, as well as the big players. (who have a huge invested interest).

    But for a large number of industries, it's very hard for an individual or small group to progress, without backing by big business or governments, such as the medical drug industry, it cost's an average of 800 to 900 million dollars to get a new drug developed. (not sure if that includes trials and approval). But it's too expensive and complex for a small group or company to do on their own.

    And if an individual discovers a new compound with potential, then without patent protection no drug company will accept it, and if you approach them without a patent, you stand to lose you're discovery to that company. Patents allow the small inventor/developer to create things and still compete in the bigger world market. Without patents and copyright, that protection does not exist and innovation is not promoted, but without patents and copyright, it is certainly hindered.

    That is why we should be optimistic, with our present system, and further software patent reform and copyright laws, gives the small inventor the ability to invent and progress technology, and not allowing others to just steal what you thought up, and use it for their own gains. That is exactly what you don't want to happen.
    Funny thing is the system appears to be working just fine, we seem to progress technically very fast, particularly in the past 50 years it's been a technological explosion, so what do you think is wrong with this system that appears to be functioning so well ?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Re: Progress and patents

    If patents are so important, as important as copyright, then why don't patents last just as long as copyright?

    Why doesn't a patent last the life of an inventor plus an extra 70 years? Seems only fair.

     

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    ECA (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    I didnt read what you all posted, but.

    Tech is DRAGGING, and its being forced.
    Intel wanted to make Multi processed machines in the 90's, and MS said NO..NOW we have Multi core, which isnt much different. Except its missing certain abilities of Multi tasking. MS forgot the fun of NT which wasnt created by MS, but was Bought by MS. NT was designed to be used on Multi CPU systems in a Parallel processed machine. So they are HIRING 2 persons That know Multi process/CPU machines to CORRECT there problems.

    The advent of DVD has kicked VHS to the ground, but we lost something in that transition. The ability to COPY/RECORD CHEAPLY.. now there ARE reasonable priced units, but NOT in the USA. This is the RIAA/MPAA having them Blackballed in the USA. They want the units to have certain funtions, that MOST companies DONT want to add, as it would raise COST on the units by about $100, as they have to pay a copyright to USE those ADDED FEATURES. Those features also CRIPPLE the units.

    Long ago, when they WENT to aluminum cars and SMALLER engines, I hoped it would work. IT DID. but you wont see the cars that did. I have 1 of those cars. 1986 Olds with a 282 engine, that gets 30+mpg. Why those SMALLER cars dont get over 30mpg, is a mystery. The VW bug, did better then most of these LITTLE cars today.

    Its a wonder your computer, running WINDOWS, can even play a DVD or movie. The requirements arent that bad. But watching movies/shows on the net, you have to ask...Why the Words dont sync up with the lips. your DVD player doesnt have a problem with doing it and it dont have a Processor running at 2ghz, it dont have a Multi core processor, it shows HD like a champ, and your computer has problems keeping up. Funny isnt it. Computers and hardware have been going Backwards. Advances from the 1980's have been forgotten(look up the AMIGA and BeOS hardware). systems arent much faster NOW as they were then, as the SOFTWARE has gotten bloated.

    In truth,
    software should only have protection for 5 years. Then be released to the public domain. As an individual, a patent/copyright should only last 10 years unless sold to a corp, then they only control it for 5 years and then DROPPED to the public domain.

    Good luck.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    I agree that, in the long run, innovation does prevail, and it's worth being happy and optimistic. If so many of the stories on Techdirt often feel negative or frustrated over the actions of certain industries or politicians, it's mainly because their actions and the (un?)intended consequences of those actions only serve to get in the way -- temporarily, but sometimes significantly -- of that innovation, progress and prosperity from happening.

    This is one of the most negative blogs on the Internet.

    The ratio of negative to positive stories is what, 10:1? 7:1? Even the 'positive' stories (e.g., the recent Amanda Palmer story) spends ample time complaining about her old record label.

    Nearly every story here is flogging one of the Techdirt horses: governments are mostly dumb, politicians are mostly evil and sort of dumb, judges are dumb, lawyers are evil and dumb, rightsholders are mostly dumb and sometimes evil, red light cameras are always both evil and dumb, big corporations are evil and dumb...

    For all the supposed innovation that's going on, there's apparently awfully little to write about.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 4:29pm

    "Progress And Innovation Cannot Be Stopped -- Merely Hindered"

    I say we do away with patents and stop progress from being delayed.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 5:43pm

    Re:

    http://www.physorg.com/news193551675.html

    Scientists in China have succeeded in teleporting information between photons further than ever before. They transported quantum information over a free space distance of 16 km (10 miles), much further than the few hundred meters previously achieved, which brings us closer to transmitting information over long distances without the need for a traditional signal.

    In China. One of those crazy countries that doesn't really respect intellectual property.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Re:

    We already have methods of sending and receiving encrypted information undetectable from those who don't know the key, including the government. Heck, with the right firmware (assuming it can transmit signals on the right frequency) your wireless N routers can probably do it now. The black market is perfectly capable of producing stealth information distribution devices. It's just that, at the moment, there is no real need to produce them.

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0508/0508135.pdf

     

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  34.  
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    Darryl, May 22nd, 2010 @ 6:57pm

    Quantum information,

    That would be at least a bit impressive, on face value, but when you look up where and who discovered, worked out it's possibility, we find it was a group of IBM researchers, in Yorktown NY.

    All the Chinese did in this case was obvious refine or improve some aspects of the experiment, infact what they did was employ higher energy photons (of which there is a limit). So it's probably going to be difficult to extend that 16Kms range by any great amount using that method.

    (you can only get photons to certain energy levels before you cannot easily or at all increase the photon energy levels, so if 16k is all they can get by using very high energy photons (like X Rays), they wont be able to extend the range any further by increasing the photon energy levels.

    All they have done is use existing knowledge and techniques and created some refinements.
    But still the bulk of invention and innovation comes from first world countries with stable governments, fair laws, good health care, social security and compulsory education.

    And ofcourse, there is that thing, called the "Industrial Revolution" which freed up huge amounts of manual labour and enabled mass production, farming, transport, along with child labour laws, and education the UK with the steam engine, lots of coal, lots of population (domestic market), and cheap energy (steam engine)created the field for invention and innovation. And resulted in the huge explosion of human advancement we've experienced in the last 150 to 200 years.

     

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  35.  
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    lfroen (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 11:38pm

    Science progress is not "innovation"

    Mike, you seems to be very confused about science and "innovation". Scientific progress is not driven by "free trade", as quoted Matt Ridley suggests. Science, for centuries, was and is, driven by human curiosity of understanding surrounding universe. It have nothing to do about money. Not most, but ALL significant discoveries waited from dozens of years to centuries for practical application. Look at your phone - all science behind it about is century or more old.

    With all your whining about "patents hinder innovation" you somehow think, that science (the real one, not "researchers from XYZ corp.) is not affected by all this IP crap. Because people who "want to know things" do not care. They didn't care that Church burned books; they didn't care when Church burned _them_. What make you think that real scientist think about IP at all? He (or she) thinks about research subject, and will leave those insignificant legal problems to other people, who care.

     

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    Eu, May 22nd, 2010 @ 11:42pm

    Re: Re:

     

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    Karl (profile), May 22nd, 2010 @ 11:44pm

    Re:

    the easiest way to see the difference is to look where communistic or socialist states have landed on the ladder of progress.

    Quite a bit of our technological progress has happened in universities, both private and public. Much of that comes out of projects that are funded exclusively by the military.

    That's not communism or socialism, but it's not really capitalism either.

    On the free market side, who is one of the most successful tech businesses around right now? Google. Do you think Google would be more or less successful without reliance upon patents and trademarks?

    Obviously patents and trademarks have their purposes, but those purposes have often been ignored. Now, a lot of the times, they're a mechanism for hindering progress. If the laws were tweaked to make them more in line with their purposes - progress and consumer protection, rather than "ownership" - then most people here wouldn't have a problem with them.

     

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  38.  
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    European anonymous coward, May 22nd, 2010 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually China is has signed the various treaties regarding IP rights, and are starting to crack down on violators. Of course it could just be a co-incidence that this happens at a similar rate, to the rate at which new inventions are being made in China.

     

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  39.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 3:54am

    I'm a child of George Carlin figuratively speaking and there's only one comment this article deserves.

    "The planet is fine, the people are fucked." - George Carlin may his soul never rest

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    mike does tend to get off on a bender about innovation from time to time. the techdirt standard for innovation is put someone elses idea in a new box, paint it a new color, and claim some sort of advancement (possibly in paint application).

    scientific curiosity drives much of the basic discoveries and innovations, and while it doesnt cost anything to be curious, it does cost money to keep them at work. universities and pure research centers receive endowments, grants, and financial support to make it all possible. it safe to say that untold millions of dollars and untold millions of hours are spent in this sort of research every year.

    further, the "researchers from XYZ corp" also play a big part in the deal. bottom line oriented companies often are there to narrow down the purely theoretical into the practical. that would be, example, turning general research about compounds into a workable medicine for heart conditions or the like.

    at the end of the day, research and development of products is damn expensive, and the copyright and patent systems are in place to encourage research and development, by allowing reasonable commercial exploitation under which enough money is raised to do it all again. without these sorts of protections, it would be very unlikely that there would be such advancement, and almost certainly not at the current pace.

    all of the parts must work for it to happen. the masnick version of innovation involves everyone looking over everyone elses shoulders and nobody actually doing the work that advances things. there has to be a reason to turn pure research into actual products. there is little or nothing put forward here as an alternative that appears functional, outside of some sort of socialist dreamworld.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    Why don't patents last just as long as copyright?

     

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  42.  
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    igf1, May 23rd, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re:

    I agree with you on most points. With the exception of Russia as a socialist state. They were (and still are actually) more of a hard line oligarchy which was thinly veiled as socialist. The battle cry of the feeble minded has become socialism, even though they don't know what it is exactly. Your contemporary in this context is a good example. In order to "puff up" his argument he invokes Russia, China and Cuba while ignoring Canada, Switzerland and Iceland etc. The point here is free markets. Capitalism in it's unbridled form is diametrically opposed to free markets. It's seeks only profit at all costs, never considering ethics or humanity. It is the scorpion on the fox's back. The best approach to defusing these arguments, at least in my experience, is to point out that corporate regulation has become a mere formality in the last 20 years. We have entered a period since then where capital markets boom and bust with unprecedented frequency because the markets are absolutely being manipulated by companies that have grown larger than their host economies. I think the term is "too big to fail", THAT is the result of monopoly duopoly whatever, it's a few big players that decide what happens to the global economy. Patents are naturally used to tax innovation and the system is so broken and so corrupt from the inside out, that it is giving massive advantage to large companies while pummeling startups.

    See the Microsoft vs. Salesforce.com suit. This is exactly the kind of thing that everyone in the tech sector feared. That huge IP holdings companies would clear competitors from any market they want.

    In order to protect innovation, in order to defend free markets, in order to allow entrepreneurial freedom we must alter our perception of intellectual property. On both sides of this debate. While you never hear about it in the news, it is, the single most important element of the future of commerce.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    http://www.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=USTRE64L1CB20100522

    The Foreign Ministry has dismissed as "groundless" U.S. accusations that China is failing to crack down on copyright piracy, ahead of talks with top U.S. officials next week, Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

    It quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu as saying China had implemented policies to combat piracy in copyrighted films, music, videogames and other entertainment products.

    "The involved U.S. Congress members should respect the fact and stop making groundless accusations against China," he said.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "What make you think that real scientist think about IP at all?"

    So then you admit that IP is not necessary for advancement.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "and the copyright and patent systems are in place to encourage research and development"

    There is little to no evidence to suggest that patents and copyrights encourage R&D or help promote the progress.

    "by allowing reasonable commercial exploitation under which enough money is raised to do it all again."

    No, first of all the government funds much of it, and secondly it mostly just creates incentive to simply grab a patent on things and do nothing with the patent in hopes that if someone else innovates, you can sue them. Why do you think most patents never make it to market? People just hold them and do nothing with them, many advancements occur only after certain patents restricting their advancements have expired even. Holding a patent and doing nothing with it does nothing to promote the progress. The incentive is merely to get patents on things that benefit from government funded research and lock it up or simply to get as many patents as you can and use your patent portfolio to exploit the market. Money is wasted in lawsuits and legal battles, money that can go into innovation instead. You make assertions but provide zero evidence to back them up.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    not to mention companies often hold patents to prevent others from creating competing products. The incentive is not to use patents to innovate, the incentive is to exploit the patent system as much as possible to make as much money as possible. That's why companies have formed that dedicate themselves to patent trolling, they don't produce anything, they merely hold patents and sell them to whomever wants to sue someone or they try and sue whoever infringes. It does nothing to promote the progress and only wastes money and resources inefficiently. I would much rather the government fund the necessary R&D to promote the progress, which they already do, and give everyone the freedom to exploit that research and conduct their own R&D if they wish (and R&D will be conducted perfectly fine by the private sector without patents, only the R&D won't be intended to merely justify a patent, it would intended to actually innovate). I know the status quo loves patents and doesn't want to get rid of them because they unfairly benefit and so they will say any lie to keep them in existence and so they keep repeating the unsupported lie that they promote the progress, but that's only because they have a conflict of interest and it's in their best interest to keep repeating that lie.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Of course it could just be a co-incidence that this happens at a similar rate, to the rate at which new inventions are being made in China."

    China is communist and the government funds much of the inventions in china using government money. and if the government is funding them then it's not patents that are facilitating the process.

     

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  48.  
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    NAMELESS ONE, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:11am

    lets think this way

    if say we have 6.6 billion people on the net
    tomorrow
    HOW fast can things be innovated with such a HUGE collective mind?
    HOW fast could the monkeys in the room come up with ALL the useful ideas?
    THIS is why copyright and patents are now becoming irrelevant.
    ITS a few select people wanting to HOARD the ABILITY to be the INNOVATERS and because of them we are in fact JUST beginning to see how badly it will work out.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and one must realize that China is communist. So the fact that some there innovate isn't necessarily because they want to make more money. and if patents are there to provide the financial incentive to innovate the fact that they're communist kinda negates that.

     

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  50.  
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    NAMELESS ONE, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:15am

    @48 WRONG

    no the american capitalists are aiding them directly by placing all the manufacturing and tech over there to be manufactured. CHINA has had to do so little true innovation because to be there the state owns 51% of the venture....

    ITS quite the opposite because largely china is ignoring patents and copyrights its people are beginning to flourish.

    Take Russia that WILL BE a better gauge of what open and free can do now that they have open source in the schools.

    THOSE kids will be the next gen innovators that will move Russia back to a forefront when our own western govts are lagging and pandering to a very small number of large corporations.

     

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    NAMELESS ONE, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:16am

    @4

    um ya like cubas pretty darn good health care system , even canada's health care system and the fact that if you look around your room almost all the goods are made in china cause they dont quite enforce patents and copyright the same way we western idiots do.

     

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  52.  
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    NAMELESS ONE, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:19am

    @7

    YOU said
    "Not only is technological progress inevitable, social progress is inevitable. Heck, look how far we've gone worldwide, in terms of civil rights, just in the last 200 years or so. We still have a long ways to go, and social progress is a slow and excruciating process, but it's inevitable."

    really, so we got loads a rights and civil liberties eh?
    SO when george bush and all since him world wide have all but taken all our rights away , thats ok just cause we had them for 180 of those 200 years?

    repeal the patriot act, end DMCA , TOP DOWN WAS A SCAM

     

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  53.  
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    NAMELESS ONE, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:26am

    DRM

    DRM = DPRM
    Digital Progress Restriction Management

    THATS what DRM TPM and et all is

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Re: @7

    Like I said, we still have a long ways to go, I don't disagree with that, but we are better off now, in terms of civil liberties/rights, than we were 200 or even 100 years ago.

     

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  55.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re:

    "If the laws were tweaked to make them more in line with their purposes - progress and consumer protection, rather than "ownership" - then most people here wouldn't have a problem with them."

    I lift a glass of port to you ...

     

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  56.  
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    Richard (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The point here is free markets. Capitalism in it's unbridled form is diametrically opposed to free markets.

    The key here is to distinguish between the system and the protagonists within the system. Capitalism, as a system, is a system of free markets. However most organisations within a capitalist system spend their time trying to become monopolies.

    (Whilst insisting in public that they are supporters of free markets.)

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    you are just spewing the mikey koolaid as you type. nothing original here.

    "There is little to no evidence to suggest that patents and copyrights encourage R&D or help promote the progress." - do you think that untold millions (even billions) are spent on r&d every year just for fun, with no hope of recovery? do you think people are such unwise investors that they throw their money into black holes, with no desire for any return on their money? really?

    "not to mention companies often hold patents to prevent others from creating competing products. The incentive is not to use patents to innovate, the incentive is to exploit the patent system as much as possible to make as much money as possible." - what percentage of patents do you think are used in this manner? would you care to bring some numbers, explain some things, actually back up this sort of thing with some actual numbers? plus, the innovation you talk about is the innovation by replication of work of others, not real innovation. often, researchers are forced to find different ways to accomplish similar goals, and in doign so, innovate. amazing, isnt it?

    "I would much rather the government fund the necessary R&D to promote the progress, which they already do, and give everyone the freedom to exploit that research and conduct their own R&D if they wish" - cuba isnt that far, if you swim fast the sharks wont get you. this goes further than some government funding, grants, or tax breaks, you are talking about putting obama in charge of research and development for the western world. can you imagine the clusterf--k with the government running the show? you have to be kidding!

    "I know the status quo loves patents and doesn't want to get rid of them because they unfairly benefit and so they will say any lie to keep them in existence and so they keep repeating the unsupported lie that they promote the progress, but that's only because they have a conflict of interest and it's in their best interest to keep repeating that lie." - no, it is because there are no alternatives that keep the cycle moving forward as fast as it has. the progress of the 20th century (with expanding copyright and patents) was the fastest in all of mans history. nobody has a better system that would accomplish anywhere near the same, so we go with what is working. are there issues? yes. but a small percentage of people die during open heart surgery too, and we dont throw out the procedure as a failure. propose something better that can actually accomplish the same or more, and you have a point of discussion, otherwise you are tilting at a (socialist) windmill.

     

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  58.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    The glass is half empty ....

    I understand what mike is saying. A large portion of what is on techdirt is negative in nature and seems to paint a gloomy picture. These posts are warnings for people to heed. Progress can only be slowed it cant be stopped. Personally I have the belief that no matter what restrictions, rules, or laws are put in the way of progress there is always a way to circumvent them or use them to your advantage.

    Lets take a look at ACTA, the record labels, and the collection societies. Determine the strength and weakness of each and build a plan either topple or make them inconsequential.

    ACTA really does not have any strengths. Its purpose is to maintain the current entertainment monopoly. It is designed to move the policing of copyright from the record labels to the goverment realm. It is a cost reduction mechanism that will, in the end, cost the worlds taxpayers more in taxes than the entertainment industry makes.

    The record labels

    The collection societies

    The weaknesses of the record labels, and the collection societies

    The plan on how we think outside the box to undermine and replace them

     

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  59.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    Re: The glass is half empty ....

    oops posted before I finished it

     

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  60.  
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    ECA (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    AND AGAIN

    Tech corps hold TIGHT to things they create..
    They tend to WANT to be paid 1000 fold before they Advance to the NEW/next level..
    They are holding back about 8-10 levels of advancement, AT this time in many forms.

    MS hate hardware advances, and so does Apple. MS has controlled 80% of intel for many years form Changing the Motherboards and CPU's that we use.
    HE has a CORNERED MARKET.

    The recording industry and movie industry, are CONFUSED, and have restricted sales of certain devices in the USA.
    TIVO has been having Lots of fun.

    If car patents/copyrights were DROPPED around the world.. Could be an interesting thing..

     

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  61.  
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    ECA (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    Re: The glass is half empty ....

    Thats correct..

    But lets add to the Cops job.
    To do that I request we CHARGE the industry to police it.

     

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  62.  
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    Karl (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If I had a glass of port, I'd raise it back. Coffee will have to do for now.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "you think that untold millions (even billions) are spent on r&d every year just for fun, with no hope of recovery? do you think people are such unwise investors that they throw their money into black holes, with no desire for any return on their money? really?"

    You still provide zero evidence that patents help advance innovation.

    "what percentage of patents do you think are used in this manner? would you care to bring some numbers, explain some things, actually back up this sort of thing with some actual numbers?"

    The majority of patents don't even make it to market, at least not during the time they are patented. So if they don't want to innovate with those patents, why do you think they have them? Do you think they will pay money for these patents if they didn't benefit from them? They do benefit from them and the benefit they receive has nothing to do with promoting the progress. We bring evidence and numbers, you ignore them. Yet when asked for evidence that patents promote the progress, heck, when asked for examples of good patents, you are silent on the matter. There are plenty of well documented academic studies that show patents harm progress. You ignore the numbers.

    "plus, the innovation you talk about is the innovation by replication of work of others, not real innovation."

    You mean like how the pharmaceutical corporations merely make me too drugs thanks to the patent system. They simply replicate a drug and change an atom to renew their patent. not real innovation.

    "researchers are forced to find different ways to accomplish similar goals, and in doign so, innovate. amazing, isnt it?"

    What would be more amazing is if you can find evidence to support the notion that patents are good. That would be truly amazing.

    "cuba isnt that far"

    Cuba is communist and as such innovation gives no incentive to advance not because of a lack of patents, but because of the fact that they're communist.

    "this goes further than some government funding, grants, or tax breaks, you are talking about putting obama in charge of research and development for the western world."

    The government already funds a ton of R&D and then either government departments get patents for that R&D and they charge the private sector for licenses to use them or the private sector winds up with patents that benefit from government R&D. I am not talking about putting the government in charge of R&D, you are assuming, with absolutely no evidence (and the plethora of contradicting evidence) that the private sector will not do R&D without patents. You cite no evidence to support your assumption and you ignore the tons of evidence that disagrees with you.

    "no, it is because there are no alternatives that keep the cycle moving forward as fast as it has."

    You just say that because you're willfully ignorant. Read the book

    http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm

    for example

    "the progress of the 20th century (with expanding copyright and patents) was the fastest in all of mans history."

    First of all correlation does not equal causation.

    Secondly, the United States (ie: Thomas Jefferson) was very skeptical of patents during its inception. It was very light on the idea of intellectual property (both copyrights and patents) and Hollywood itself was built on piracy. Much advancement occurred exactly to the extent that intellectual property laws were ignored and people innovated in violation to those laws. Heck, just about any innovation these days violates some patent, but innovation still occurs because people innovate in violation of patents. Even Jefferson noted that, during his time, countries without patents were perfectly able to innovate just as well as those with, and the book above presents evidence, that you will merely ignore, to show that IP hinders innovation. There are studies after studies showing this to be true. You ignore the evidence and you provide no evidence to support your position. Some of the reason the U.S. innovated early on is exactly because we have traditionally been lighter on IP than other countries and may innovations occurred without patents.

    Another part of the reason is because inventions like the printing press, computers and digital storage, digital information search tools, and the Internet have made it easier for us to communicate, distribute, store, and find information in various places making it easier for us to build in previous knowledge instead of having to re - invent the same things over. Also, technology in recent years does much of the manual labor that people used to do and so people can now focus more effort on innovating. and to say that copyright expansion has helped innovation is nonsense. There is no way a 95 year copyright can help produce better operating systems and software faster being that just about no currently used operating system is near 95 years old. Yet plenty of software innovation occurred despite this. Heck, firefox and linux produced tons of innovative OS ideas that Microsoft simply stole (ie: web page search features, tabbed browsing, along with much of the linux look and feel) yet this software is released under licenses designed to circumvent copyright.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "you are just spewing the mikey koolaid as you type. nothing original here. "

    Yes, the idea that someones position should be backed with evidence isn't original, I agree. So what, you want to come up with the original idea that your mere unsupported speculation, with no evidence, ought to be accepted without question? That maybe an original thought, but it's not a good one. Yes, we keep on pointing out that there is no evidence that patents promote the progress and you keep on pointing out that me pointing this out isn't original. Well, good, so then you agree that there is no evidence that patents promote the progress and that this fact isn't an original thought. So what's your point then? So what if it's not original, it's true, and if it's true then it's a good argument regardless.

    You keep arguing 2 + 2 = 5. I keep arguing that it's 4 and I explain to you that if you get two apples, and get two more apples, and put them together, you have 4 apples. You argue, but that's not an original argument. So what?

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "plus, the innovation you talk about is the innovation by replication of work of others, not real innovation."

    Incrementally improving something is cheap and easy, and yet patent maximists will insist upon obtaining a patent on every iterative improvement of something (ie: me too drugs). This hampers real innovation because now the focus is on exploiting monopoly power on iterative innovations and ignoring true innovations. Without patents people have to come up with real innovations to better compete with the iterative innovations that everyone else produces. and they can't simply come up with the idea of real innovation, get a patent on it, hold it and do nothing with it (as is normally the case) in order to either make money off of others who actually innovate or to prevent others from bringing new products to market. They must actually innovate to make money, not merely get some government monopoly on something.

    Look a Google, they bought Youtube for a billion dollars despite the fact that they have no monopoly on video distribution. They fostered real innovation, they were the first to offer large sums of E - Mail storage. Their first mover advantage makes them ahead in the market. Yes, if they make poor business decisions competitors will eat them up. That's how it should be. You shouldn't have a patent that allows you to exploit money out of people who need a product you have a patent on no matter how poor your business decisions are or no matter how unethically you behave (ie: Pfizer who gets to get away with breaking laws and have a subsidy of a subsidy take the consequences because Pfizer is too big to fail).

    The reason pharma isn't really progressing is because they locked the market with patents years ago and so what you mostly have is me too drugs instead, minor incremental innovations. Pharma advanced years ago exactly because patents were very limited in the field years ago, but now the innovation is slow and you merely have me too drugs because patents have controlled the field. Innovation still happens, and patents do expire, but it's much slower. You want to do the same thing to everything else that you did to pharma, you want to destroy innovation under false pretexts just to exploit every dollar that you can from any possible market by monopolizing everything. You are arguing that patents are good only because you unfairly benefit from them and have a conflict of interest in the matter. But the evidence disagrees with you.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    in order to either make money off of others who actually innovate or to prevent competitors from bringing new products to market *

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "But the evidence disagrees with you."

    and not only does the evidence disagree with IP maximists, but IP maximists no better, it's just that they have no regard for morality. They only care about themselves, nothing more.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    know better *

     

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    igf1, May 23rd, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    hmm, I may have the terminology wrong, but the distinction as I see it is based on capital markets, and their control of governance. Which is exactly what truly free markets are. There can be no truly free markets where capital is strictly the dominant medium. As we have seen, they're like a horse, which will eat it's self to death. Every public company has an obligation to it's shareholders first. Being the only player certainly makes that easier :).They have an obligation to show growth every single earnings call, regardless of their size in relation to their market. This means that any company growth beyond what a given market can provide has to come at the expense if its competitors ... but bla bla bla for a second (I'm sure you get the point). Think of it like evolution (a classic analogy), it's survival of the fittest, right? Ok, at some point certain species figure out how to game evolution. Suddenly the weak rule the strong by birth right. Then, at some point these species actually begin to supersede evolution (genetic modification, splicing, cloning etc). Now these species not only make the rules they control the ecosystem in which those rules apply.

    In short,
    Every company attempts to eliminate it's competitors and with every success becomes better suited to do so. Not that thats wrong, but it just is. Free markets become un-free if left unchecked and thats bad for all of the other companies that want to be the sole players in their market. Traditionally, we (the USA) have fought off monopolies before they could threaten their markets through regulation. More recently we have stopped regulating M&A (merger and acquisition for those playing along at home) in any meaningful way. When was the last time you heard about any sizable juggernaut being denied an acquisition? See the history of corporate regulation for more information on what made the US economy become a hotbed for boom bust cycles.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think the regulation of M&A was partly an attempt to justify things like patents. Without IP there isn't that much of a need to directly regulate M&A, if you don't compete and produce something beneficial to society your income taxes will cause you to lose your capital to others who can better produce. But patents give someone a government granted monopoly and to avoid some company, with way too many patents, from monopolizing too much the justification given for still having patents was that the government would initially regulate them. Eventually, as people get more used to tolerating monopolies (ie: you put a frog in hot water it jumps out, you put it in warm water and slowly heat it it boils to death) the government diminishes that regulation until you basically have monopoly/cartel like circumstances for just about everything and the special interest groups are too powerful to stop it until the next aggressive revolution by the masses.

    It's like with public airwaves, special interest groups want to control the public airwave message (ie: what news and views makes it on public airwaves) and they want a monopoly on both the content and the distribution channel. But to take public airwaves away from the public all at once and just grant such monopoly power to the corporations all at once would be like putting the frog directly in hot water, the public would have a fit and force the government not to allow it. So the government starts incrementally, first requiring licenses on some frequencies but leaving some free. Eventually they expand the need for licenses until just about all frequencies are regulated somehow. But, so the public doesn't scream, they require a certain amount of competition and deny any special interest group from holding too much power at once. But eventually those regulations start to disappear and special interest groups become more and more able to own more and more spectra until eventually you have the mess you have now. It's an incremental process, same thing with this attempt to control the Internet and stop torrents, the cyberwar, etc... they want to turn the Internet into the same nonsense that they have turned everything outside the Internet into but they must do so incrementally in baby steps. But their agenda is to keep moving forward in their efforts to control everyone.

    Same thing with copyrights. They started out like 14 years, no one would have initially accepted 95 year monopolies (or the lifetime of an artist + 70 years) which is why the limited time was inserted into the constitution. But as they started gaining more control of the information distribution platforms and as people started getting used to copyright, they kept on expanding it, retroactively even, and intentionally keeping the public ignorant, until eventually you reach the point where nothing ever enters the public domain, the public is scammed, and everyone is too ignorant to realize it.

    Same thing with cable companies and this notion of natural monopoly. The idea was to grant a monopoly, regulate it so that the granting of that monopoly is more publicly acceptable, and slowly start to remove those regulations (ie: giving Hollywood the ability to break your DVR yet allowing special interest groups to have a monopoly on the infrastructure and on who can build new infrastructure. They shouldn't do such a thing, anyone should be allowed to build new infrastructure and if there truly is a natural monopoly no one would do it. But the reason why big corporations lobby for the government to disallow newcomers the opportunity to build new infrastructure and compete is exactly because the existing incumbents benefit from such monopoly power, they benefit because if the government didn't prevent newcomers from building new infrastructure and competing newcomers would do exactly that). What does the public end up with? The worst of both worlds, they end up having to put up with a government granted unregulated monopoly, and that's the whole idea from the outset, to slowly condition the public into accepting government granted unregulated monopolies. First the government grants a regulated monopoly (ie: they ensure a certain amount of competition) then they remove those competition regulations eventually allowing only the regulations that prevent competitors from entering the market.

     

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    Darryl, May 23rd, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    It's the Industrial Revolution !

    There was this thing that happened a little over 100 years ago, it was called the Industrial Revolution, may be you slept in on that day.
    But briefly, prior to the IR most items were manually or hand made there was very little externally powered processes, some windmills and some water wheels at most. Most items were made by hand, including farming, and mining.

    So the majority of the population toiled, and performed manual labour, including the children, there was little requirement for the majority of the population to receive an education. And most did not have the time or inclination to do it, after working hard with manual labour all day.

    Then came James Watt, who had a good idea, he said we have lots of crap that we can burn, wood, coal, puppies and so on, and I got this idea for a machine that turns fire into rotation energy, I just add water!

    So with Watts steam engine, people were relieved of their toil, and manual labour, they could plough fields, mill wheat/corn/grain, make cotton, they could also with the steam engine build trains and ships and FACTORIES. Giving people manufacturing and transportation, so once the manual labour is lifted off the people, the children start to get an education (en mass), so in 15 to 20 years you got an explosion of educated people, and transportation, communications and factories, and the ability to produce large amounts of low cost (affordable) products.

    Then, having all this at their disposal, they are then required to think up things to manufacture and sell, and transport. Need + Education + power (motive power) + facilities (factories/transport) + desire to make and sell things = inventing, innovating, designing new items and products to sell for a profit.

    Some guy called Ford decided to make cars, another decided to build ships, another decided to build a different type of car and so on.

    So to say that we all would benefit if we were able to just copy and use someone else's invention or innovation, as opposed to making something better for mankind, is I think misinformed at best.

    A vast number of inventions and innovations have been created in the 100 years since the industrial revolution, that in the 3000 years before the IR.

    What is it about some countries, that make them more inventive, and innovative than other countries ?
    We all started out basically the same, yes there are first, second and third world countries.

    When you can answer that question you may gain a better understanding of the effect of a more ordered society and better human rights protections such as patent and copyright.

    Invention is generally born from necessity in the industrial revolution it the was necessity of using the new energy source, education and manufacturing, transportation, and population demand that drove invention and innovation.

    The ratio of innovation/invention to is more closely aligned to politics and social order than population, small countries (UK, US, Australia, Germany, and so on) tend to do a great deal of invention and innovation per capita, is it because those countries have better social order, better education, higher needs, and the desire to create and profit from you're invention. And make the world better for everyone, if we did not do that, we would continuously use the first thing that comes along, and not improve or invent better things for mankind. If we did that may be we would still be using steam engines designed by Watt, and burning coal.


    So it was because of the steam engine, (that was patented), and all the other advancement that steam power created, like cheap manufacturing, transport and so on.

    This is why there was a massive explosion of innovation, that there is no decline in the amount of innovation today than there was from history..

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "and the special interest groups are too powerful to stop it until the next aggressive revolution by the masses. "

    should read

    "and the public is too powerful to stop it until the next aggressive revolution by the masses. "

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    err... too powerless to stop it *

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's basically a systematic scam. Start out with regulations that get people used to the idea of having regulations then move on to regulations that restrict competition but regulate said restrictions to ensure a minimum amount of competition then move on to keep the regulations in play that restrict competition while removing those that ensure a minimal amount of competition until you end up with a total monopoly on everything. Keep people ignorant by controlling the information distribution channels while giving people the appearance of competition by having more than one company exist while, in the background, they act as a cartel with their patent portfolios and cross licensing deals that prevent newcomers from entering the market. You want to see how ignorant the public was.

    http://blog.richmond.edu/s09law641/2009/03/02/the-hot-debate-over-copyrighting-bikram-yoga/

    Yes, people were using copyright power to prevent yoga companies from conducting yoga or to unfairly restrict how they did it. If the public was generally aware of this there is no way they would tolerate it. But because the public is mostly kept ignorant, because the government can sufficiently control its people and what they know, a judge can rule whatever s/he wants without having to worry about the necessary amount of public outrage required to change the laws and the legal system. and so, behind the scenes, corruption abounds and the public doesn't know or suspect a thing. They are merely given the appearance of competition while in reality there is little.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    your property taxes *

     

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    abc gum, May 23rd, 2010 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Shillonomous -> "our progress is faster now than ever. too bad that you cant see past your own notions to see what is really going on."

    Sir Joseph Rotblat -> "The twentieth century saw more momentous change than any previous century: change for better, change for worse; change that brought enormous benefits to human beings, change that threatens the very existence of the human species. Many factors contributed to this change but - in my opinion - the most important factor was the progress in science."

    There is a difference here, I'm suprised you missed it. Wait, no I'm not.

    I suppose you did not read the entirety of the link you posted, otherwise you would've realised the author is saying that not all progress is good. This is contrary to your assertion that all "our" progress has been positive in nature.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Progress and patents

    hmmm, maybe patents are not important ?

     

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    Igf1, May 23rd, 2010 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Excellent post!

    ++;

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or it's TAM. He likes to say things like that.

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Then, at the final stages of the scam (which we've finally reached), the government funds R&D with taxpayer money and grants monopoly power on the proceeds of this R&D to either government agencies or to other special interest groups. At the last stage the government funds R&D and private interests (ie: private corporations or government agencies) end up receiving patents that benefit from this government funded research and the public, who already paid for this R&D with their tax dollars, has to pay a second time, the second time paying monopoly prices, to benefit from this R&D, both to have access to the information that public tax dollars funded (ie: when peer review journals get copyrights on the publications) and to have access on whatever medicine or devices or technology benefited from those public tax dollars (ie: when government agencies get patents and require private entities to have a license to use this technology or when private entities gain patents that have benefited from public R&D).

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not all progress is good for the status quo, but who cares. Just because a competitor has found a better way to do something, like sell ice cream, and that causes you to risk losing business because you can't/won't compete is no reason for you to ask the government to stop your competitors from competing and producing a better product for a better price. That's what free market capitalism is good and that's what free market capitalism is about. If the status quo can't compete with newcomers then the status quo should either adapt or be driven out of business, they shouldn't be driven to lobby a broken government for more unfairly broken and laws.

     

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  82.  
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    Karl (profile), May 23rd, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    Re: It's the Industrial Revolution !

    Then came James Watt, who had a good idea, he said we have lots of crap that we can burn, wood, coal, puppies and so on, and I got this idea for a machine that turns fire into rotation energy, I just add water!

    James Watt is probably not so great an example. "His" steam engine was just a series of minor improvements over the atmospheric engine invented by Thomas Newcomen. And things didn't really take off until Richard Trevithick invented high-power steam engines, and perfected the steam locomotive - in spite of patent suits by Watt.

    Watt, you see, was a notorious patent troll, who filed patents that could never be developed, and whose only purpose was to prevent others from inventing similar devices. Also, both his sun and planet gear system, and his steam locomotive, were likely invented not by Watt, but by his assistant William Murdoch.

    Kind of makes this statement more than a little ironic:
    So to say that we all would benefit if we were able to just copy and use someone else's invention or innovation, as opposed to making something better for mankind, is I think misinformed at best.


    Also:
    When you can answer that question you may gain a better understanding of the effect of a more ordered society and better human rights protections such as patent and copyright.

    If you believe that patents and copyrights are "human rights protections," then you have a very bad grasp of patent and copyright laws.

    Incidentally, I agree with a lot of your post. It's the idea that any of that is dependent upon patents or copyrights that I find questionable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Everyone knows its TAM. The new argument now seems to be, "progress isn't good" or, "Not all progress is good." Not good for whom? and saying that not all progress is good is kinda vague. Yeah, progress in new weaponry maybe bad (and inevitable) but I don't think most people on techdirt are referring to the progress of weapons. I also think that, when it comes to weaponry, most government will just ignore patents and progress weapons regardless, since violence is what governments ultimately use to enforce its desired laws (including patent laws) on others and if patents hinder the progress of weapons a government might be taken out by other governments and governments know this.

    As far as environmental issues, techdirt has discussed patenting new technology that's safer on the environment and I think that patents on such technology is bad for the environment because it will slow their progress and adoption (see http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091208/1003197249.shtml ). If people are self interested then why should they pay monopoly prices for a device just to save the environment when not implementing such technology will be substantially more profitable. Not to mention new technology is in may ways better for the environment than old technology (ie: now we use less paper and computers and monitors and televisions are getting more energy efficient and so are cars).

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    mike, you should just log in as yourself. dont want to be seen as a bully all the time?

    i am sorry, but there is a shortage of empirical evidence on either side, because we are not in a position to test systems on a global scale to a / b and find the best solutions. at this point, we can only look at what we have, and draw conclusions.

    russia was a communist "on demand" economy for most of the 20th century. while they did manage some amazing things, the reality is that their country was almost frozen in the early 20th century, and only moved forward rapidly when they started to allow in ideas from outside, products from outside, and business from the outside.

    china is another communist country. again, while they have managed some amazing progress of their own, they have not really advanced quickly until they opened their doors to the west and started to work with new ideas and concepts. china has advanced more in the last 20 years than in the previous 50.

    cuba is a communist country, they are still driving around in 1950s chevys and living on the leftovers of what the west taught them. on in the fields of social medicine do they excel, even then it is almost entirely on the backs of western discoveries.

    these are all countries where the best minds were aimed at the best projects, where communication between the top people was always encouraged, and the governments funded things like crazy. yet, except in the very small areas of advancement chosen by the government, they were not the equal of the commercial / western work in any way.

    thus, i can say that 2 + 2 = just about 4, in that the government based "pay for advancement" system used in these countries didn't do much, and yet the west has expanded rapidly in all areas of knowledge, concepts, and living standards, all sign of a functional system that advances us. that we have advanced faster in the last 100 years than the 1000 years before that might be some indication as well.

    there is little proof that the patent system doesnt work. anyone can point at a system, find exceptional cases, and find reasons why this or that isnt right all the time, but as a whole, things arent so bad.

    the one that makes me laugh the most is the 'but medicines are too expensive for the poor of the world'. it is true if you focus closely on a very small point, that the drugs exist and they are too expensive. but without that price, would the drug have been developed at all? might it have taken 20 or 30 more years for government based researchers to go there? does a short term patent that cedes this knowledge into the generic world still quicker and more efficient than waiting for the government to order it done some time in the future?

    it also hits where i typically disagree with mike. he oftens gets so close to something, that he forgets it is part of a larger system. it is incredibly easy to make fun of the patent bandits operating out of east texas, yet they represent but a very small part of the patent world. they are the thorn on a rose, or the nettle bush in a lush landscape of green. they are the speed bumps in the road of progress, but they are not a fence or a wall. progress continues with or without them, and will continue. as long as companies and individuals seem the validity of investing time and money to develop new products, they will do so. if the security and benefit of creating those new products is lost, it is likely to slow down. that in itself is the proof that the patent system generally works.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Elance

    You should check this out: ESPAM.COM.

     

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  86.  
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    y0uf00bar, May 23rd, 2010 @ 8:28pm

    There are limits.

    Progress and History all mark time passing.
    Not all the trends are good. Innovation is how
    we meet the next challange caused by our previous innovations.
    There must be ends and limits to innovations, just like there are to resources and sinks. Physics, chemistry and gravity all have hard limits. Oil is running out, as is the capacity to burn fossil fuels. Innovation here means not burning fossil fuels. Go to it.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 8:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    Any country in isolation will advance less than countries who benefit from each others inventions. Much of the innovation in the U.S. was built upon innovation from other countries. Of course more people doing more things is going to innovate more than fewer people doing fewer things. and, yes, communism doesn't foster innovation exactly because a government that controls everything doesn't give people the freedom to innovate. but if anything, this is merely evidence against patents because it just shows that more regulation = less innovation. any country that solely benefits from only its own innovation will benefit less than a country that benefits from its own innovation + the innovation of others. So the U.S. , among other nations, benefit from the innovation of others, others benefit from the innovation of the U.S. and of course they collectively benefit more. But one must consider the advancement of each nation in isolation, the advancement that each nation did by itself, not to mention the advancement over previous advancements from other nations. But a country in isolation can't advance the technology of other nations. Despite the drawbacks of not benefiting from the advancements of other nations and not being able to advance upon those advancements even then you admit that China and Russia have accomplished some amazing things. Also not benefiting from the advancement of others means that you must repeat an advancement first to advance on top of an advancement instead of taking the effort necessary to repeat an existing advancement and directing it towards advancing on top of that advancement. and that's another reason patents are bad, it prevents people from advancing on advancements.

    "i am sorry, but there is a shortage of empirical evidence on either side, because we are not in a position to test systems on a global scale to a / b and find the best solutions. at this point, we can only look at what we have, and draw conclusions."

    and what we have shows patents are bad. Now as far as absolute proof, sure, there is no absolute proof, but the current evidence strongly suggests patents are bad. You merely ignore the evidence. and I'm not Mike and we all know it's you TAM.

    "yet, except in the very small areas of advancement chosen by the government, they were not the equal of the commercial / western work in any way."

    But they advanced from their own advancement, but the fact that they didn't open up to the advancement of others means they didn't benefit from the advancement of others (while other countries benefited from each others advancement). Patents would merely prevent everyone from benefiting from each others advancements, so what you have indirectly describes the effects of patents in the sense that it's like the other countries against these isolationists on the advancement that those outsiders made. and not benefiting from others advancements also means you don't advance on those advancements as quickly because you must first put effort into making the initial advancements.

    "in that the government based "pay for advancement" system used in these countries didn't do much, and yet the west has expanded rapidly in all areas of knowledge, concepts, and living standards, all sign of a functional system that advances us."

    and other countries (ie: the ones in that book) advanced very rapidly without patents and the west benefited from that advancement as well and the U.S. was initially very skeptical about patents (ie: Thomas Jefferson) and only used them very scarcely and that's partly why it advanced. and those countries that didn't have patents were just as innovative, and often even moreso, than those that did.

    "there is little proof that the patent system doesnt work. "

    If you want a system that grants special interest groups monopoly power, taking away the rights of others and causing so much known economic harm (monopolies cause a known economic harm), the burden of proof is on you to show that such a system is justified. It's not on me to show the opposite. You have not shown such a thing and the evidence shows the opposite.

    "but without that price, would the drug have been developed at all?"

    I think the evidence shows yes. Read that book for example. Not to mention that many of those patents are on synthetic variants of naturally occurring compounds that comes from plants that were used medicinally by people for many thousands of years. Heck, Pharma even tries to get patents on drugs already invented

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100407/1902268925.shtml

    because we all know that without patents those drugs will get uninvented. and you were the one that mentioned novel innovation in opposed to incremental innovation and most of the pharma innovation now, with patents, is incremental whereas before patents were as prominent as they are now there was far more novel innovation. Again, if you want to say that novel drugs won't be produced without patents, the burden is on you, and you have not substantiated your position nor have you justified patents.

    "find exceptional cases"

    You have yet to present any evidence that patents help advance innovation. We find tons of evidence, not merely exceptional cases, but tons of evidence and plenty of cases and when asked for examples of how patents promote the progress we receive nothing with no evidence to back up anything you say. The cases we bring up are the rule, not the exception, because if they were the exception then you should have no problems bringing up all the cases where patents are good and showing that they have helped innovation.

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    I think he's trying to say that Science is not necessary for advancement :)

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 8:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    in the sense that it's like the other countries have patents against *

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "russia was a communist "on demand"" ... "and the governments funded things like crazy"

    "cuba isnt that far, if you swim fast the sharks wont get you. this goes further than some government funding, grants, or tax breaks, you are talking about putting obama in charge of research and development for the western world."

    This argument is a dishonest strawman. IP critics do not argue that patents are the only thing that delay innovation, they are merely arguing that patents are one of those things that delay innovation. and no one said that the government should fund all research and to assume that without patents no research outside the government would be funded is also untrue (as history, and the evidence, has shown many times).

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "russia was a communist "on demand"" ... "and the governments funded things like crazy"

    Your argument basically amounts to, "because people who don't smoke get lung cancer, that means that smoking doesn't increase the chances of lung cancer." You're arguing that because communism delays innovation, or because things other than patents delay innovation, that means that patents don't delay innovation. Is this the best argument that IP maximists can come up with?

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    there is no proof that the "delay" of patents is anything like the delay on non-investment or inaction.

    the other thing is the delay of patents is misleading, because most people who spend money to create something worthy of a patent intend to bring it to market. they dont recover their investment without the product making it to market somehow, either on their own or through license to another.

    again, i see nothing that shows that a patent system creates any worse of a situation overall (not particular cases) than a system that affords no protection for inventors or developers. there is no strawman, only trying to find circumstances that match up to your views.

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Re: It's the Industrial Revolution !

    sort of a standard dismissal, no? attack the man, and pay no attention to what was spawned as a result. nicely done!

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "there is no proof that the "delay" of patents is anything like the delay on non-investment or inaction."

    What? Sounds like you made a typo, or else you are just being incoherent.

    "because most people who spend money to create something worthy of a patent intend to bring it to market. they dont recover their investment without the product making it to market somehow, either on their own or through license to another. "

    Getting a patent on something is different than creating it. Getting a patent on something merely means putting an idea/design on paper, huge difference between creating it and getting a patent on it. It's cheap to put something on paper and think up ideas. Anyone can sit around and come up with ideas all day long. It's expensive to actually innovate and bring ideas to market. Patent holders who demand that others pay them to bring an item to market merely come up with ideas that others independently come up with and parasite off of those who actually innovate while doing absolutely nothing beneficial to society themselves. Or they merely hold a patent for the purpose of preventing others from bringing competing products to market or they hold it to give them cross licensing leverage.

    "again, i see nothing that shows that a patent system creates any worse of a situation overall (not particular cases) than a system that affords no protection for inventors or developers."

    TAM, you know this is a lie. The thing is that no one sees anything that shows that the patent system actually helps innovation, neither do you (despite your lies) and neither does anyone else. Yet there are a plethora of particular cases (tons and tons of cases) that show they only harm innovation. Nothing that shows they help innovation. If you want to claim that patents are justified then the burden is on you. You want a monopoly, you want privileges over others, you must justify them. You want the government to give you an unlevel playing field, justify it. Monopolies cause a known harm to society and so they must be justified. I see nothing justifying them, I see nothing showing that patents deserve to exist, merely your unsupported opinion.

    "there is no strawman, only trying to find circumstances that match up to your views."

    Except it seems that all of the circumstances match up to my views and you have presented absolutely none that match up to yours. NONE. ABSOLUTELY ZERO!!!

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2010 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "again, i see nothing that shows that a patent system creates any worse of a situation overall (not particular cases) than a system that affords no protection for inventors or developers."

    So the only thing you have to offer is your opinion. No facts, no evidence, just your opinion. Nice work TAM.

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS ONE, May 24th, 2010 @ 12:38am

    its an entire thread of catholic church progress

    just google the dark ages and then come back here and tell anyone with an iq above 6 that Science progress is not "innovation"

    man has always tried to innovate buy taking an old idea and making it anew. copyrights and patents with too long a terms can and do only harm such.

    if we had USA music terms in the 17th century NONE of the great classics would have been written

    so TAM can keep anonymous and just try try but fails and continues to look sillier and sillier as the rest of the world gets its education

    and on that how is knowledge of math and physics done and evolved or innovated?

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2010 @ 12:53am

    Nameless.One,

    You seem to have some problems. Have you considered getting oh, I dunno, a girlfriend or even a boyfriend..?

    It's kinda tough to tell based on your pronoun usage. Nonetheless, I assume you're using the same algorithm I am using.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Jim, May 24th, 2010 @ 2:25am

    Wall Street Journal article

    The WSJ published an article on Saturday that, in some ways, echoes the theme of this post. The article explores the notion that human progress is spawned by the exchange of information, creating bigger and better "collective brains," or as the article put it, "ideas having sex." From Humans: Why They Triumphed:

    There's a cheery modern lesson in this theory about ancient events. Given that progress is inexorable, cumulative and collective if human beings exchange and specialize, then globalization and the Internet are bound to ensure furious economic progress in the coming century—despite the usual setbacks from recessions, wars, spendthrift governments and natural disasters.

    The process of cumulative innovation that has doubled life span, cut child mortality by three-quarters and multiplied per capita income ninefold—world-wide—in little more than a century is driven by ideas having sex. And things like the search engine, the mobile phone and container shipping just made ideas a whole lot more promiscuous still.

     

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  99.  
    icon
    Wesley Parish (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 3:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    Just to make some points not otherwise noted in your comment:

    In the 1920s and later, the Soviet Union developed in spite of its paranoid leadership, for one major reason - education was regarded as a human right. And to educate, one could not have monopolies of knowledge - in spite of Lysenko, and Lenin's and Stalin's fulminations on the Theory of Relativity.

    In the 1930s and up till the Second World War, the Third Reich advanced technically, in spite of its psychopathic leadership - that was because the leadership funded the technicological companies, in spite of the almost psychotic bad feelings between various leaders and various companies.

    Of course both the US and the USSR profited from German research in aviation and such matters.

    The Peoples Republic of China has advanced signally within the last decade, because of two things - their government has regarded education as a human right, and they have largely got out of the way of the small entrepreneur - or they never saw fit to get in his way in the first place.

    And of course the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the hub of the world-spanning (and not-much-lamented) British Empire, led the world in innovation and inventiveness during the 1800s because they had some social mobility, some education, and because the "Intellectual Property" laws were often ignored; they also seeded other nations' technical progress because of those "IP" laws - someone who came up with a development that woud've run afoul of an existing patent held by some major firm, could easily cross the British Channel or the Atlantic Ocean, and find a more receptive and open environment where he could develop his idea ...

    Like it or not, the US encirclement of education, research and development within its infamous "IPR" laws, the most gratuitous example being the ACTA treaty, is seeding the PRC's development and productivity. And what I most resent is that I am being thrown like a bone to a dog, to the US oligarchy of monopolies, and left uncompetitive against the PRC, when this is a challenge that stirs my blood. Just think how enthralling a DRM/DMCA-shackled response to Sputnik would have been ...

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    abc gum, May 24th, 2010 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Not all progress is good for the status quo, but who cares."

    Everyone should care. There are many thing that could be considered "progress", like off shore drilling for example.

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    abc gum, May 24th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    Re: Progress and patents

    "As I have a patent I can disclose it to my potential customers, and if I see them using that algorithm without my permission I can of course, seek relief through the Court."

    I was under the impressions that one was not allowed copyright, patent or trademark on algorithms, when did this change ?

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2010 @ 5:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Science progress is not "innovation"

    "because people who don't smoke get lung cancer, that means that smoking doesn't increase the chances of lung cancer."

    Sounds like something fox news would say

     

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  103.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2010 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Re: It's the Industrial Revolution !

    lookin a mirror

     

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  104.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2010 @ 5:17am

    Re: Wall Street Journal article

    Lets not break our collective arms patting ourselves upon the back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: Re: It's the Industrial Revolution !

    I'm not attacking the man. For all I know, he was an upstanding guy who loved his family and saved drowning puppies. I am, however, pointing out that he misused patent law. Criticizing his misuse of patents, in a discussion about patents, is not an ad hominem attack.

    Darryl presented patent law as protecting certain things (innovation, a "human right" to own your ideas), citing Watt as an example. Yet, Watt used those laws against exactly those same things.

     

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  106.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    AC

    Nameless one probably suffers from English as a Second Language.

     

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  107.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    Re: And maybe that's a good thing

    I'm not saying you're wrong about us growing faster than we can handle, but we still aren't doing very well with gunpowder, and that was invented 900 years ago. I don't think we can afford to innovate at a rate that allows us to deal maturely with one invention before introducing the next. You could argue that we never will fundamentally change, so there is no point in waiting.

    For example, realistically we're not going to give up our cars and air conditioners and so on. Rather than waiting until we can appropriately deal with the powers that petroleum gives us, we need to move on to whatever is beyond petroleum as soon as possible.

     

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  108.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 7:27am

    Re: If we can manage to survive Dear Leader Obama

    Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter... yeah, those guys.

     

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  109.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 7:38am

    Re: Progress and patents -- Not so fast here

    The notion that patents, in the broad sense you use the word, has had much of anything to do with the information explosion of the last 50 years is so much bullcrap.

    The reality is that one couldn't patent software till the mid 1990s well after the explosion began. More so I'd be tempted to argue that real innovation has slowed since patenting of software has been allowed.

    Innovation, even invention, are driven not so much by a profit motive as they are by a need or perceived need to do something better or more efficiently. The profit motive comes later, if it comes at all. The short form of all of this is "an itch to scratch".

     

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  110.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2010 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    sorry, wrong argument. progress is very good. you are missing the concept that without patents, much of the progress wouldnt have happened to start with. it might take 20, 30, or maybe a century before pure researchers get around to the stuff, and it might takes years after that before someone brings a product to market. the basic concept is that without a patent system, without some way to get back the monies spent to research and develop something into a viable product, it wouldnt happen. so then you would have free and unfettered access to nothing.

    "As far as environmental issues, techdirt has discussed patenting new technology that's safer on the environment and I think that patents on such technology is bad for the environment because it will slow their progress and adoption" - if nobody was developing them to start with, wouldnt that slow their progress and adoptation? if nobody was researching it, or all waiting for someone else to spend the money on it, would we get there faster? if the government spent billions of taxpayer dollars on research, would we get there as fast or as cheaply?

    dont fall into the masnick trap of standing too closely to the subject. patents are part of a system that promotes rapid progress. when you stand too close, you can find flaws in that part of the process, but when you stand back, you can see that the alternatives are unlikely to be as productive. taken as a whole, nobody has suggested a system that would get the same speed of process over a longer period of time.

     

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  111.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS ONE, May 24th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    @97 then @110

    once again proving that when you try and attack the man not his message i must be onto something eh?

    and now we get the catholic churches excuses why knowledge and
    its ilk should be restrained FOR OUR own good. Nuclear weapons and how about those US weapon programs , any halting going on?
    progress i guess the USA kind , that after there texas govt tries to rewrite history and state they are a catholic nation ironically founded entirely by freemasons

    WHOSE ancient order before it merged with the more current one was about the protection of said knowledge so that it could be freed up to the masses for the betterment of mankind.

    ANYONE who hoards, stops, or slows progress is and does have some stake financially in doing so at the behest of the rest of the world.

    P.S. I have a girlfriend and as she read your remarks she said and i'll quote....
    "that guy is some weirdo isn't he"

    and um i hate to say this but before the copyright and patent system had come into being most of the major inventions needed or required for the ground work for all inventions to come were pretty much laid out.

    MUSIC was rampant and people were copying all manner and inventing and innovating left right and center.
    BOOKS were everywhere and being written. IT is when you introduce such that you see slowing of progress begin

     

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  112.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    congratulations, you have just identified where a you move from a capitalist / free market system to a socialist system. Hugo Chavez would like to send you a prize for discovering his secrets.

     

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  113.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    NEED TO SAY IT..

    lets look at 1 ADVANCEMENT..
    the Cotton gin.
    What made the patent? 15 minutes.
    as there was another person with the SAME idea.
    This is NOT to say that the FIRST machine was better then the other.
    This is not to say that an IMPROVED version would/could BE MADE soon after.
    IT WAS CONTROL over an idea/concept. And until someone MADE it better FAST, the original would be the only one.

    THE problem comes with TIME.
    how long does the ORIGINAL get to hold the patent, before something BETTER gets a chance?

    MORE advancements are made by INDIVIDUALS, and it should STAY that way. Why do corps DO what they do?
    Movie/music industry?
    .. BECAUSE they wont pay for ANYTHING more then what they have.
    MPeg2(RAW) format over MPEG4(compressed). MPEG2 they got, and mpeg4 was created by an individual. MPEG2 they can protect and use/fill with DRM. WHY give more when when they cant fill a DVD with MPEG2. THEY dont want to give you MORE. They want to SELL YOU MORE.

    Even the FUEL corps will tell you the reason they USE CRUDE OIL...ITS CHEAP. From gathering it, to processing it...ITS CHEAP. They have MINERAL RIGHTS FROM 50 years ago, at $20 per acre to HOLD LAND until they WISH to use it. NO ONE else can use those mineral rights.
    Why do we use OTHER countries oil?
    A couple reasons.
    USE THERES FIRST, our last. OURS ARE saved underground until the REST is gone. THEN we sell it at HIGHER prices. insted of those 50 year OLD PRICES.
    Our oil has certain things in it, like HEAVY sulfur. Other countries DONT. so we buy theirs.
    When the OIL boom started THEY grabbed EVERY QUICK spot they could find and made deals so as to hold the land FOREVER. Few have taken the land BACK. The corp STILL controls 1/2 the worlds oil, tankers, distribution, processing...and its CHEAP. 90% of oil to the USA comes from the Americas..North, south, central..Canada to Tiera Del Fuego.

    Cars.
    Each manufacture has their OWN copy rights. HIDDEN COPYRIGHTS..
    you cant make a engine, chassis, PART without those copyrights. HELD over for 50+ years. Think of what would happen if Every car had Independent suspension, the SAME sterring(sp).. The SAME feel.. Many of the INTERESTING things you see in NEW cars, were created in Expensive cars 30 years ago. NOW to make things MORE expensive, we make Every car different..no standard PARTS..Every plastic piece is different. its EASY to make a ONE-OFF piece. THEN charge you $200 for it, when it cost $1 to make in OTHER COUNTRIES.

    Iv already mentions computers IN previous posts ABOVE..
    YOUR biggest hindrance is MS, holding Intel BACK from re-designing the MOTHERBOARD. from the 1995-today..
    There ARE better designs and controls that could be used that MS does NOT WISH to change. Full Multi-processing on the MOBO DESIGNED for it. from the AMIGA(1980?) computer forward.
    Video cards, that are NOT much changed over the past 15 years. They really DONT do more. only FASTER. Go look. Tribes 2, Mech warrior 3, HEAVY GEAR 2(?)..
    IF they had advanced as MUCH as they SHOULD..
    the Video card would LINK to the AUDIO card directly(not thru the CPU).
    YOUR desktop would be ON the video card, and pull parameters from the HD on design and style, the the video card would DO the VIDEO PROCESSING, not the CPU/SOFTWARE/DIRECTX.. This alone would save CPU time by 80% of your processing power.

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    Darryl, May 24th, 2010 @ 11:52am

    Mike ASTROTURFING his own site.

    Mike, really posting Anonymous Coward in reply to YOUR OWN blog.

    Thats called Astroturfing, and why dont all you guys, MAN UP a touch and post your real names.

    Mike, it does nothing for you're credability to see you AC'ing you're own blog, without stating who you are !

    As for the patent system, it's been in place of a very long time, and the system does seem to work very well.

    Someone said that soon we will have invented everything,,, WRONG.. they said that in the 1800 as well.

    But If I invent something, getting patent protection on it, means I can use my invention, without the risk of someone else seeing it as a good idea, and taking it for their own gain. (and my loss).

    BTW: without patent and copyright, engineers and designers have to use other methods to protect their ideas.

    That often means SEALED systems, that you are not allowed to see the circuitry, or software.

    Get rid of patents and copyright, but dont think that is goign to make it easier for you to steal someone elses good idea and use it for you're own gains.

    Patents provide protection, so that you CAN make it publicly available, for improvement and further invention.

    It's clear the system is not perfect, no system is, but the system works far better than you're anarchy driven system.

     

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  115.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Mike ASTROTURFING his own site.

    Mike, really posting Anonymous Coward in reply to YOUR OWN blog.


    I have done no such thing. Ever.

    Thats called Astroturfing, and why dont all you guys, MAN UP a touch and post your real names.


    I stay logged in all the time. Do not make false accusations.

    Mike, it does nothing for you're credability to see you AC'ing you're own blog, without stating who you are !


    I have never done so. Why would I? I stand behind everything I say and clearly defend my position against folks like yourself.

    As for the patent system, it's been in place of a very long time, and the system does seem to work very well.


    Except, of course, that every study looking into it has found the opposite. But, you know... details....

    But If I invent something, getting patent protection on it, means I can use my invention, without the risk of someone else seeing it as a good idea, and taking it for their own gain. (and my loss).

    Yes, we know what the patent system says. But the question is whether or not it creates a net benefit or loss to society. And the evidence suggests, quite strongly, it's a net loss.

    BTW: without patent and copyright, engineers and designers have to use other methods to protect their ideas.


    If protection is the goal, then yes. If building a business is the goal, then perhaps not.

    That often means SEALED systems, that you are not allowed to see the circuitry, or software.


    Except, of course, in reality, where people realize that a more open solution can be a boost to their business.

    Get rid of patents and copyright, but dont think that is goign to make it easier for you to steal someone elses good idea and use it for you're own gains.

    I never suggested any such thing. Do not put words in my mouth.

    Patents provide protection, so that you CAN make it publicly available, for improvement and further invention.


    Again, that's the theory. Reality...? Not so much.

    It's clear the system is not perfect, no system is, but the system works far better than you're anarchy driven system.

    Who said anything about anarchy?

     

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  116.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Mike ASTROTURFING his own site.

    Anarchy means "without government" not "without order".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  117.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), May 24th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Mike ASTROTURFING his own site.

    Umm,
    It WORKED..
    It DOESNT WORK NOW..
    Hmm, I wonder why.
    Could it be the Corps in the last 15-20 years forcing changes to the laws?

    The original Rules were for individuals..NOT CORPS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Progress and patents

    LOL! I can day dream about this bozo ever trying to extort money from some poor innovator and this thread comes into play during the trial. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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